What is “Employee Brownout”?


It’s tough to retain employees in the workforce today. We’ve all heard the common phrase, “employee burnout”. It’s when employees become disengaged, overwhelmed, and ultimately leave to pursue something new. It comes quickly. It can be predicted based on poor work performance, lack of motivation, and clear disengagement with their job.

But did you know there’s something referred to as “employee brownout”? Dr. Travis Bradberry explained that brownout is when “interest in their jobs slowly dissipates”.  On the surface, an employee may seem perfectly fine: they put in the hours, work hard, and continue to contribute to the team.

However, these employees are often in a silent state of overwhelm which leads to disengagement.

The Harvard Business Review states that 1/3 of “star” employees feel disengaged from their employer and are already looking for another job.

So, how do you prevent disengagement and “employee brownout”? Here are a few suggestions from Bradberry:

  1. Active Partnering– Find a way to support your associate’s goals professionally and personally. How often do you candidly talk to your associates about what is most important to them?
  2. Recognize accomplishments– Top performers are intrinsically motivated. Show that you’re paying attention and reward them.
  3. Show you care– There can be a balance between being professional and being human. Have some empathy- it’s impossible to work for someone every day if they don’t care about anything other than your output.
  4. Support their passions– People who can pursue passions at work experience a state of mind that is 5x more productive than the norm.

Earning the engagement of employees can help create a positive team, and in the end, retain and engage employees for longer durations of time. In a candidate-driven workforce, it’s imperative to retain talent.

We can help you put a strategy in place to hire top talent, and most importantly keep them. Contact us today and let us transform your hiring strategy.

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